Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)
Directed by: David Price
Written by: A L Katz, Bill Froehlich, Stephen King
Starring: Christie Clark, Ned Romero, Paul Scherrer, Rosalind Allen, Ryan Bollman, Sean Bridgers, Terence Knox
CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE (1992)
Directed by David Price
Available on Arrow Video Children of the Corn Trilogy UHD Blu-Ray
Following on from the events of the first movie, CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE opens up with the police force investigating the reports made by Burt and Vicky about the residents of Gatlin and soon news teams across the county are heading towards the town to get the lowdown on the mass murders. Blaming the killings on being brainwashed by the late Isaac and Malachai, some of the residents of nearby Hemingford take in the children of Gatlin, including B&B owner Angela who opens her home to teenager Micah. It doesn’t take long for He Who Walks Behind The Rows to find a new prophet and once again the killing starts. Can journalist Garrett and his teenage son Danny stop the killings in this strange community they’ve found themselves in or will they find themselves succumbing to the same fate as those before them?
After the success of Children of the Corn, a property development dispute led to Scott Stone securing the rights to produce a sequel, CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE, formerly known as CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: DEADLY HARVEST. By continuing the story set out in the first movie, the sequel takes on the familiarity of knowing what these indoctrinated kids are up to. This allowed the filmmakers to have fun with the idea by exploring a whole host of creative set-piece deaths and adding to the lore with some explanation for the craziness of the past and present.
The main characters in CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE are father and son, Garrett and Danny. Having never been around for his boy after accidentally getting his then-girlfriend up the duff at 17 years old, Garrett struggles to connect with his son. Having flown out from his home in New York, Danny is spending time with his father but clearly resents him for never being a part of his life and putting his job before him with only occasional birthday gifts the only acknowledgement he’s really had. This frosty, estranged relationship is established throughout the movie as Garrett drives them to Gatlin to get the scoop on the Gatlin murders but turns up too late. Instead, he decides to stick around and find out the details for himself, uncovering some hidden truths along the way.
Protagonist Danny comes across as a bright young man who knows his own mind but still looks to his father for recognition and approval. His anger with his father is tinged with sadness as he yearns for a relationship with him that he’s never had and holds his father accountable for his lack of action in being a part of his life. This contempt against the adult in his life makes him prey for the kids of Gatlin as they see him as another soldier to add to their ranks. Whilst staying nearby to Gatlin, he befriends a teenage girl Lacey and they hit if off. Why wouldn’t they, two attractive teenagers who seem at odds with the strange cult of kids in Gatlin. With Micah and the Gatlin gang ramping up their efforts for He Who Walks Behind The Rows, and Danny and Lacey exploring their own brand of fun, it’s pretty easy to see where their storylines will cross but doesn’t stifle the enjoyment any.
Whilst the plot of CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE isn’t anything outstanding, it is still a solid enough piece of horror entertainment in its own right, especially with the introduction of other characters outside the Gatlin kids, such as Lacey, the police officer, doctor and Native American professor, Frank Redbear, who all add their own elements to craft this into an enjoyable sequel. However, the highlight of the film has to be the death scenes. The writers and filmmakers certainly got creative when it came to offing the adults in the Gatlin with some eye-caching death scenes, including an intense nosebleed during a sermon and tampering hydraulics on a risen property. The funniest, most memorable might have to be a scene involving an elderly woman in an electric wheelchair. Let’s just say Johnny Knoxville may have been inspired when he did one of his stunts in Bad Grandpa. The execution of the scene is hilarious as a bingo game is being held inside a roadside building, with a guy holding up his card and shouting Bingo in a questionable manner after the woman makes her unexpected entrance.
Whilst the film viewed on its own, as its own entity, is distinctly average, as a sequel, CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE ticks the boxes required. It has the creepy kids led by a prophet, delivered with intent and purpose by Ryan Bollman; it has the uneasy buildup as the viewer waits for them to strike, and finally it has plenty of inventive deaths. It might not have the eerie mystique that I adore of the first film but that was always going to be hard to replicate, especially since it’s already been done once and we know what to expect. However, it provides a new, youthful energy that builds upon what came before it and, in my opinion, manages to deliver some good ol’ fashioned horror fun fuelled by that blasted corn with a sprinkle of tongue-in-cheek comedy.
The Arrow Video Trilogy release of CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE comes with both the International cut and the US Theatrical cut of the film. The International Cut runs at 1 hour 32 mins and 59 seconds, with less CGI transformation of the demonic face than the US theatrical cut. The US Theatrical cut runs at 1 hour 33 mins and 33 seconds, and features additional CGI and alternate audio mix.
Audio Commentary with critic Lee Gambin and director David Price. Gambin, author of Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making of Cujo and Hell Hath No Fury Like Her: The Making of Christine, spoke with Price during lockdown for this commentary. As the conversation is recorded across continents, Gambin’s audio is rather clear whereas Price’s sounds like he’s far away, like on the telephone, so there is a bit of an audio imbalance however it’s still clear enough to listen to. Price provides some very insightful facts on the making of the film
Audio Commentary with critics Matty Budrewicz and Dave Wain. This podcast-style commentary has Budrewicz and Wain providing their thoughts as well as background on the film and its stars. The two bounce off each other really well which isn’t surprising as they already work together on their own site and podcast via theshlockpit.com
A New Harvest (9 mins) – A new interview with director David Price. Price talks about shooting the film in 24 days, and how much fun he had making it in Liberty, North Carolina. The interview is short but sweet and insightful.
Sowing The Seeds Of Terror (9 mins) – A new interview with co-writer A L Katz. Katz kicks things off by explaining how horror is not really his thing but has found much success with it such as Tales From The Crypt, which he took inspiration from by adding some scenes to Children of the Corn II that was planned for that. He discusses how he brought environmental issues to the story and that, despite the credits, it was actually Bill Froehlich who co-write the film with him.
Framing Fear (6 min) – A new interview with director of photography Levie Isaacks who started his career as a news cameraman before getting his big break thanks to Tobe Hooper. Isaacks talks about his love for film and how he looked to utilise shadow for dramatic effect on Children of the Corn II.
It Was The Nineties! (18 mins) – A new interview with actor Ryan Bollman who stars as Micah in the film. Bollman talks about how David Price pushed for him following the auditions which resulted him bagging the major part. He talks about how much he enjoyed working on the film and working with a familiar friend again, Christie who he had shared the screen with in Days of Our Lives. He also discusses the stunts in the film, in particular his involvement in the combine harvester scene that left him terrified.
Workprint Vision (1 hour 35mins) – This early, unfinished cut of the film features different scenes and dialogue to the finished cut. It’s a bit rough and unready, with the colour and clarity off, but is still watchable for fans of the film.
Trailers – The disc features four trailers: The Final Sacrifice trailer, Deadly Harvest trailer, US TV Spot and re-release trailer.
Stills Gallery – 12 still shots from the film which can be cycled through using your TV remote